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Gear Talk => Canon General => Topic started by: jdramirez on March 30, 2013, 09:11:04 PM

Title: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 30, 2013, 09:11:04 PM
I'm ripping off ahsanford's question format... consider it praise rather than theft.

I thought I would start with a bit of history.  I started off with a Canon XS and a 18-55 and I got a 75-300mm along with it.  Without question, I was not happy with the 75-300, but I did learn a few things about shutter speed with shooting at a distance with a long zoom, not to mention having a relative understanding of bokeh at longer focal lengths. 

I eventually upgraded to the 55-250, and I know I'm romanticizing how great it was, but it was a good little lens, especially at the price I paid for it. 

I had a 70-200mm f/4L usm for a while and I didn't hate it... but I didn't think it was really that much better than the 55-250 (which I had sold quite a while before).  I REALLY didn't like it in low light, but I guess that is expected.  Outdoors it was good, but still never blown away like I had been with my primes (50mm f/1.8 and eventually f/1.4, 100mm f/2.8L IS macro, etc.)

So I waited a while and I got a 70-200mm f/2.8L USM... and I liked it more, but according to everyone here, it was a touch backfocused and my 60D as many of us know doesn't have AFMA... so I sold it because again... I wasn't blown away.  But I did like that a whole heck of a lot more than the 70-200mm f/4L usm. 

I would like a 135mm f/2L but it isn't an emergency to get one, but it contributes to my concern that if I get the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mkii, then I will have too much money in the same focal range (a 100mm f/2.8L IS, a 135mm f/2L, and then the aforementioned 70-200mm).

So I was thinking... is there a good zoom option that has more reach, with reasonable low light capabilites (5.6+ need not apply)...

Auto focus is a must, and image quality is paramount.  I find that if my lens doesn't have the capability of producing breathtaking photos, I just ignore it and work with my other lenses that are significantly more impressive. 

Brands:

I prefer canon.  I think they tend to have better resale value and so if I don't like a lens, I can always sell it again and either not lose anything, or at least not lose much.  I know Sigma makes a very good product depending on the specific lens, so I'm not averse to them... and they also tend to be a good deal cheaper for comparable specs... though maybe the image quality isn't quite as good... (70-200mm f/2.8 OS, I'm pointing the finger at you). 

I'm going to be upgrading to a 5D mkiii in a few months and I know I'm going to miss the reach of the crop sensor (though I realize the bokeh is still the same, if not better, and when I crop into the image, the depth of colors will be greater and it will be sharper... so I'm complaining only about perception of a loss of length).

As you guys always ask when someone pipes up about lens selection, here are my shooting needs...
 
What I'm considering...

I'm willing to consider a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS with a 1.4 or a 2.0 tele-converter.  With AFMA on the 5kmkiii, I don't have to worry about front or back focused and I know it is a miracle lens... but I have been disappointed with it's smaller brothers... so I just don't want to go back to the well and not like what I'm seeing AGAIN.

http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-70-200mm-2-8-Telephoto-Canon/dp/B003HC8V9A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364689577&sr=8-1&keywords=sigma+70-200+2.8 (http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-70-200mm-2-8-Telephoto-Canon/dp/B003HC8V9A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364689577&sr=8-1&keywords=sigma+70-200+2.8)

I'm also willing to consider the 70-200mm Sigma.  I know it is not quite as good as the Canon, but for $600+ in savings... I might be willing to overlook it.  Also... throw on a teleconverter.

It is presumed by many (and absolutely expected by myself) that the EF 50mm F/1.4 USM will finally get a modern refresh like the 24mm, 28mm and 35mm lengths.  I own the new 28 and adore it.  I hold it in the same regard as my L glass -- it's a joy to use.

I would consider a prime lens if I had two bodies, but switching when the players come closer doesn't seem practical... though I have done something similar when I was trying to compare image quality of a 70-200 to a 100mm.  100mm won.

The Canon 70-300mm  f4-5.6L calls to me, but I'm not a big fan of variable apertures, but it does have more reach and it is a good price, but the difference between f/2.8 and f/5.6 means only two additional stops of iso, but that's what gives me reason for concern. 

There's also the 100-400mm by canon, but ditto on the variable aperture, f/4.5 to 5.6L.  Also, I don't like the the pump action lens.  If I recall, it lets in way too much dust. 

Sigma has a 120-400 and a 150-500 that sound really interesting, but their apertures are f/4.5-5.6 and f/5-6.3 respectively.  I really don't think I would be able to use indoors, kicking up the iso will help, but I'm not sure it will be adequate. 

If I were to go with a prime, I kinda like the 300mm f/4L.  I don't have too much to say about it, because I really don't want to carry on 200mm prime, one 300mm prime, and one 400mm prime.  Both are very well rated on Amazon, 4.5+ stars each, but it doesn't mean that it is right for me.

My mind is really not made up right now, so I'm willing to hear suggestions based on either personal experience or otherwise. 
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: neuroanatomist on March 30, 2013, 10:02:43 PM
Your story is like Thom Hogan's article on tripods - start with a cheap one with a pan-tilt head, get better legs, then get a cheap ballhead, then a better ballhead, then better legs, finally you wise up and get Gitzo (or RRS) legs and a top quality head.

The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.  It's Canon's best zoom lens, and quite likely the best zoom lens available from any manufacturer. If you want the best, you'll end up there - so skip any more intervening steps and get the best.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 30, 2013, 10:35:57 PM
Your story is like Thom Hogan's article on tripods - start with a cheap one with a pan-tilt head, get better legs, then get a cheap ballhead, then a better ballhead, then better legs, finally you wise up and get Gitzo (or RRS) legs and a top quality head.

The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.  It's Canon's best zoom lens, and quite likely the best zoom lens available from any manufacturer. If you want the best, you'll end up there - so skip any more intervening steps and get the best.

Thanks and sorry for writing so much.  I didn't realize how long it was until I hit submit.  So do you have a suggestion for a good teleconverter, the f/1.4 or 2.0.  I know it is more than I want to spend for what I would consider an accessory... but I think the latest f/1.4 is probably the way to go. 98-280, but you lose a stop of light... so that would be at f/4... right?
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: neuroanatomist on March 30, 2013, 10:46:15 PM
Bigger IQ hit with the 2xIII, but useable.  The 1.4xIII does quite well.

Sure, the 300/2.8 II will be better, but at close to 3x the cost, that's no surprise.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: kirispupis on March 30, 2013, 11:18:14 PM
I know you're looking for a zoom, but to be honest aside from the mythical 200-400/1.4x a decent zoom telephoto for Canon does not exist.  I have owned almost every choice at one time or another.

Sigma 80-400/OS - extremely slow AF, unacceptable image quality
Canon 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III - better, but still slow, AF.  borderline acceptable image quality
Canon 100-400 - similar AF to the 70-200 + 2x. marginally better image quality.

The best two choices, and I own both of them, are the 300/4 and 400/5.6.  For most occasions I prefer the 400/5.6 because it has better image quality at 400mm and has the fastest AF of the choices.  I mainly use the 300/4 for occasions when I can easily get close to wildlife (zoo) or for small wildlife that I need to get close to for a decent shot (dragonflies, lizards).
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bwfishing on March 30, 2013, 11:26:32 PM
My 2 cents.

EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens. It looks and feels like the 100mmL macro and 135mmL primes that you already enjoy.
"It’s sharper than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II zoom and a third of the size and cost."
-Roger Cicala
If you can catch one of the end of the month sales on Canon refurbished website. Last month they had a refurbished model with 15% off @ $557.59
Also takes the 1.4xIII and does quite well.

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM is awesome, but I've seen the good ones used for around 4K
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bdunbar79 on March 30, 2013, 11:28:06 PM
f/4 really isn't going to work in indoor sports, even with a 5D3, and since you mention you need IQ and fast AF, then the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS is really the only option.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: ksagomonyants on March 30, 2013, 11:40:18 PM
My 2 cents.

EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens. It looks and feels like the 100mmL macro and 135mmL primes that you already enjoy.
"It’s sharper than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II zoom and a third of the size and cost."
-Roger Cicala
If you can catch one of the end of the month sales on Canon refurbished website. Last month they had a refurbished model with 15% off @ $557.59
Also takes the 1.4xIII and does quite well.

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM is awesome, but I've seen the good ones used for around 4K

+1
200 f.2.8 is a very nice lens!
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bdunbar79 on March 30, 2013, 11:45:43 PM
The 200 f/2.8L is a really nice lens.  However, it AF's way slower than the 70-200L and offers a lot less flexibility, which is why I don't think it'll help him much for sports, whereas the zoom, and yes quite expensive, will.  It'll be a tough choice.  Two bodies/two primes or a single body and the zoom.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: eml58 on March 31, 2013, 01:23:26 AM
Your story is like Thom Hogan's article on tripods - start with a cheap one with a pan-tilt head, get better legs, then get a cheap ballhead, then a better ballhead, then better legs, finally you wise up and get Gitzo (or RRS) legs and a top quality head.

The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.  It's Canon's best zoom lens, and quite likely the best zoom lens available from any manufacturer. If you want the best, you'll end up there - so skip any more intervening steps and get the best.

I agree totally, this is where you'll end up so just go there, I shoot Wildlife & use the 70-200f2.8 V2, 300f/2.8 V2, 400f/2.8V2 & just added the 600f/4 V2, 50% of my shots are still with the 70-200f/2.8, simply a great Lens, great low light, sharp & fast spot on IQ.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bwfishing on March 31, 2013, 01:25:05 AM
The 200 f/2.8L is a really nice lens.  However, it AF's way slower than the 70-200L and offers a lot less flexibility, which is why I don't think it'll help him much for sports, whereas the zoom, and yes quite expensive, will.  It'll be a tough choice.  Two bodies/two primes or a single body and the zoom.

The EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens AF it's plenty fast for me. Fast enough for birds in flight. Now the last time I checked humans are slower than birds. My kid is crazy fast maybe a track star one day, but I have no issues capturing him with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens either. It sounds like the OP enjoys prime lenses. This one is affordable and can do the job, what is not to like?

If he is stuck between these two amazing lenses then why not rent both and see which one is better for the type and style shooter he is now and wants to become?
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bwfishing on March 31, 2013, 02:26:47 AM
The EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens does not use phase-detection AF

As far as I can remember NO EF LENS can detect AF???

I did'nt state that the lens detect AF, but it was poorly worded. I actually did not complete the thought. I'm sorry if offended you in some way. I will adjust the post. No, worries as it was not the main point of the post anyway.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: RLPhoto on March 31, 2013, 09:09:20 AM
If you don't need a zoom, get the 135L. It is a razor.

If you need a zoom, the 70-200LII is also a razor but just a heavier, bulkier, more expensive and slower razor.
Title: Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM
Post by: Hesbehindyou on March 31, 2013, 10:06:44 AM
Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM

http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/01/sigma-120-300mm-f2-8-dg-os-hsm/ (http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/01/sigma-120-300mm-f2-8-dg-os-hsm/)

They've had a couple of versions, this is the third one.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bdunbar79 on March 31, 2013, 10:23:35 AM
The 200 f/2.8L is a really nice lens.  However, it AF's way slower than the 70-200L and offers a lot less flexibility, which is why I don't think it'll help him much for sports, whereas the zoom, and yes quite expensive, will.  It'll be a tough choice.  Two bodies/two primes or a single body and the zoom.

The EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens AF it's plenty fast for me. Fast enough for birds in flight. Now the last time I checked humans are slower than birds. My kid is crazy fast maybe a track star one day, but I have no issues capturing him with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens either. It sounds like the OP enjoys prime lenses. This one is affordable and can do the job, what is not to like?

If he is stuck between these two amazing lenses then why not rent both and see which one is better for the type and style shooter he is now and wants to become?

That's great.  I'm sure it does very well for BIF and kids running outside.  Try it in a dark gym.  Then it isn't.  That's all I was trying to say.  I too am not suggesting for him to buy a lens that costs +2K.  I'm just objectively comparing the lenses since I've done it myself and chose the zoom, because of what I already said, AF and flexibility, not to mention IQ and IS.  Expensive, yes.  Maybe the 200 prime is the best for him, who knows.

Good idea to rent each. 

Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 01:11:51 PM
Just for grins, rent a 300 f2.8. If resolution is paramount, once you try primes you won't go back.

 I keep earning money and I keep having fewer needs,  so in  five years I'll be looking to upgrade something... so even though it is crazy expensive,  it will be an option in a few.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 01:19:18 PM
I know you're looking for a zoom, but to be honest aside from the mythical 200-400/1.4x a decent zoom telephoto for Canon does not exist.  I have owned almost every choice at one time or another.

Sigma 80-400/OS - extremely slow AF, unacceptable image quality
Canon 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III - better, but still slow, AF.  borderline acceptable image quality
Canon 100-400 - similar AF to the 70-200 + 2x. marginally better image quality.

The best two choices, and I own both of them, are the 300/4 and 400/5.6.  For most occasions I prefer the 400/5.6 because it has better image quality at 400mm and has the fastest AF of the choices.  I mainly use the 300/4 for occasions when I can easily get close to wildlife (zoo) or for small wildlife that I need to get close to for a decent shot (dragonflies, lizards).

I hear such amazing things about the 70-200 f2.8l is mkii, I find it hard to believe it is as wonderful as its reputation.  I do see the photos online and I wonder if that is the lens,  the body,  or the photographer who make it great.   I've never heard the 100-400 referred to as better than the 70-200...  so that detracts from  the credibility of your opinion.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 01:24:24 PM
My 2 cents.

EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens. It looks and feels like the 100mmL macro and 135mmL primes that you already enjoy.
"It’s sharper than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II zoom and a third of the size and cost."
-Roger Cicala
If you can catch one of the end of the month sales on Canon refurbished website. Last month they had a refurbished model with 15% off @ $557.59
Also takes the 1.4xIII and does quite well.

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM is awesome, but I've seen the good ones used for around 4K

I was considering that,  but most opinions on it said that the 70-200 was better for image quality.   also, I  do buy from canon moor often than not because you can't beat the value and more often than not they are either brand new or Damn close to it.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 01:27:05 PM
f/4 really isn't going to work in indoor sports, even with a 5D3, and since you mention you need IQ and fast AF, then the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS is really the only option.
I know you're right... I tried to use my 24-105 with diffused flash and it worked well,  but I always felt like a distraction when the shot went off.
Title: Re: Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM
Post by: lol on March 31, 2013, 01:28:46 PM
Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM

http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/01/sigma-120-300mm-f2-8-dg-os-hsm/ (http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/01/sigma-120-300mm-f2-8-dg-os-hsm/)

They've had a couple of versions, this is the third one.
Consider the one that's in the shops now. The price has crashed since they announced the new one even though you can't get it yet, and they're the same optical construction anyway. It's good wide open and excellent stopped down. It is rather heavy though, so not something you want to carry around all day unless you need it.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: neuroanatomist on March 31, 2013, 01:36:11 PM
Canon 100-400 - similar AF to the 70-200 + 2x. marginally better image quality.
I hear such amazing things about the 70-200 f2.8l is mkii, I find it hard to believe it is as wonderful as its reputation.  I do see the photos online and I wonder if that is the lens,  the body,  or the photographer who make it great.   I've never heard the 100-400 referred to as better than the 70-200...  so that detracts from  the credibility of your opinion.

Might want to read a little more carefully before questioning someone's credibility.

He's saying the 100-400 has marginally better IQ than the 70-200 II with a 2x TC. The fact that a bare zoom lens delivers only marginally better IQ than the 70-200 II with a 2x is a testament to the outstanding optical quality of the 70-200 II.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 01:38:47 PM
Your story is like Thom Hogan's article on tripods - start with a cheap one with a pan-tilt head, get better legs, then get a cheap ballhead, then a better ballhead, then better legs, finally you wise up and get Gitzo (or RRS) legs and a top quality head.

The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.  It's Canon's best zoom lens, and quite likely the best zoom lens available from any manufacturer. If you want the best, you'll end up there - so skip any more intervening steps and get the best.

I agree totally, this is where you'll end up so just go there, I shoot Wildlife & use the 70-200f2.8 V2, 300f/2.8 V2, 400f/2.8V2 & just added the 600f/4 V2, 50% of my shots are still with the 70-200f/2.8, simply a great Lens, great low light, sharp & fast spot on IQ.

I think y'all have convinced me.  I will have to wait for a deal,  but I doubt there will be a real competitor to the 70-200  that will change my mind.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 01:53:18 PM
The 200 f/2.8L is a really nice lens.  However, it AF's way slower than the 70-200L and offers a lot less flexibility, which is why I don't think it'll help him much for sports, whereas the zoom, and yes quite expensive, will.  It'll be a tough choice.  Two bodies/two primes or a single body and the zoom.

The EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens AF it's plenty fast for me. Fast enough for birds in flight. Now the last time I checked humans are slower than birds. My kid is crazy fast maybe a track star one day, but I have no issues capturing him with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens either. It sounds like the OP enjoys prime lenses. This one is affordable and can do the job, what is not to like?

If he is stuck between these two amazing lenses then why not rent both and see which one is better for the type and style shooter he is now and wants to become?

I generally don't rent...  I'll buy at a cheap price and if I don't like it I'll sell it for what I bought it or maybe even more.   the difficulty is finding a good price where I can... do that.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 01:58:27 PM
If you don't need a zoom, get the 135L. It is a razor.

If you need a zoom, the 70-200LII is also a razor but just a heavier, bulkier, more expensive and slower razor.
I remember five years ago when I first heard about the 135... I  thought,  there is no way I would spend a grand on a specialty prime lens.   Little did I know I would lose my mind  only a few years later.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bdunbar79 on March 31, 2013, 02:14:14 PM
f/4 really isn't going to work in indoor sports, even with a 5D3, and since you mention you need IQ and fast AF, then the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS is really the only option.
I know you're right... I tried to use my 24-105 with diffused flash and it worked well,  but I always felt like a distraction when the shot went off.

You definitely don't want to rely on flash for sports.  I'm not allowed to even use a flash or strobes for any sport I shoot, so f/2.8 is the narrowest I shoot in most cases.  This is good because if you are way overexposed at f/2.8, just speed up the shutter speed.  Indoors this won't be an issue, as at f/2.8 I've shot at ISO 6400.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 02:14:35 PM
Canon 100-400 - similar AF to the 70-200 + 2x. marginally better image quality.
I hear such amazing things about the 70-200 f2.8l is mkii, I find it hard to believe it is as wonderful as its reputation.  I do see the photos online and I wonder if that is the lens,  the body,  or the photographer who make it great.   I've never heard the 100-400 referred to as better than the 70-200...  so that detracts from  the credibility of your opinion.

Might want to read a little more carefully before questioning someone's credibility.

He's saying the 100-400 has marginally better IQ than the 70-200 II with a 2x TC. The fact that a bare zoom lens delivers only marginally better IQ than the 70-200 II with a 2x is a testament to the outstanding optical quality of the 70-200 II.
Ok that does make more sense...  my apologies...
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: RGF on March 31, 2013, 03:10:34 PM
f/4 really isn't going to work in indoor sports, even with a 5D3, and since you mention you need IQ and fast AF, then the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS is really the only option.
I know you're right... I tried to use my 24-105 with diffused flash and it worked well,  but I always felt like a distraction when the shot went off.

You definitely don't want to rely on flash for sports.  I'm not allowed to even use a flash or strobes for any sport I shoot, so f/2.8 is the narrowest I shoot in most cases.  This is good because if you are way overexposed at f/2.8, just speed up the shutter speed.  Indoors this won't be an issue, as at f/2.8 I've shot at ISO 6400.

Going back as little as 10 years, ISO 800 was the limit.  3 stops difference.  The challenges we faces as film shooters  :o
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bdunbar79 on March 31, 2013, 03:48:33 PM
f/4 really isn't going to work in indoor sports, even with a 5D3, and since you mention you need IQ and fast AF, then the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS is really the only option.
I know you're right... I tried to use my 24-105 with diffused flash and it worked well,  but I always felt like a distraction when the shot went off.

You definitely don't want to rely on flash for sports.  I'm not allowed to even use a flash or strobes for any sport I shoot, so f/2.8 is the narrowest I shoot in most cases.  This is good because if you are way overexposed at f/2.8, just speed up the shutter speed.  Indoors this won't be an issue, as at f/2.8 I've shot at ISO 6400.

Going back as little as 10 years, ISO 800 was the limit.  3 stops difference.  The challenges we faces as film shooters  :o

Yes I remember and I certainly don't miss it.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: bwfishing on March 31, 2013, 04:01:05 PM
The 200 f/2.8L is a really nice lens.  However, it AF's way slower than the 70-200L and offers a lot less flexibility, which is why I don't think it'll help him much for sports, whereas the zoom, and yes quite expensive, will.  It'll be a tough choice.  Two bodies/two primes or a single body and the zoom.

The EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens AF it's plenty fast for me. Fast enough for birds in flight. Now the last time I checked humans are slower than birds. My kid is crazy fast maybe a track star one day, but I have no issues capturing him with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens either. It sounds like the OP enjoys prime lenses. This one is affordable and can do the job, what is not to like?

If he is stuck between these two amazing lenses then why not rent both and see which one is better for the type and style shooter he is now and wants to become?

That's great.  I'm sure it does very well for BIF and kids running outside.  Try it in a dark gym.  Then it isn't.  That's all I was trying to say.  I too am not suggesting for him to buy a lens that costs +2K.  I'm just objectively comparing the lenses since I've done it myself and chose the zoom, because of what I already said, AF and flexibility, not to mention IQ and IS.  Expensive, yes.  Maybe the 200 prime is the best for him, who knows.

Good idea to rent each.

Going to try to keep this post nice. After all it's a holiday. ;D
I'm not sure I understand your post regarding a dark gym. Both lenses wide open are f2.8? Not to worry, this will be my last post to this discussion. Please don't hear me wrong the 70-200 is a GREAT lens. Zoom lenses can be a wonderful solution. I think sometimes it is taken too far regarding it being "the only real solution". You don't have to take anyones word for as they are sharper prime lenses than the 70-200, even Canon's own mtf charts will tell you that, but the real test is when you have the lens in your own hands and compare the result(s) for yourself. Depending on the indoor sport you maybe able to get the shots you need with 85mm f1.8, 135mmL f2.0 or even one I don't think I've seen posted yet: 200mmL f2.0 or just take the f2.8 telephoto zoom and crank up the ISO and fix in post no big deal. I've taken a portrait on a crop body using the 300mmL f2.8 (+ extension tub to reduce MFD) lens and guess what, they are pretty good. Now is that "traditional" no, but who cares? If it fits your style and purpose then no harm right? The point is that no one lens has to be everything to everybody. From the almost rude nature of a few of the post on this thread appears that this logic maybe lost on those few. Maybe sometimes the best lens is the one you already have on your camera? Maybe its not just your gear that makes a good or even a great image...

Well, I understand the OP does not wish to rent, they are also good retailers that will let you return a lens within 30 days of purchase. So perhaps try a few of them and return the ones that don't make the cut?

jdramirez: I hope the lens you do select in the end works well for you.  To be honest it sounds like if you do choose from the lenses already posted that you really can't go wrong  ;D

Good Luck and Happy Shooting!
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 04:27:30 PM
The 200 f/2.8L is a really nice lens.  However, it AF's way slower than the 70-200L and offers a lot less flexibility, which is why I don't think it'll help him much for sports, whereas the zoom, and yes quite expensive, will.  It'll be a tough choice.  Two bodies/two primes or a single body and the zoom.

The EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens AF it's plenty fast for me. Fast enough for birds in flight. Now the last time I checked humans are slower than birds. My kid is crazy fast maybe a track star one day, but I have no issues capturing him with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime lens either. It sounds like the OP enjoys prime lenses. This one is affordable and can do the job, what is not to like?

If he is stuck between these two amazing lenses then why not rent both and see which one is better for the type and style shooter he is now and wants to become?

That's great.  I'm sure it does very well for BIF and kids running outside.  Try it in a dark gym.  Then it isn't.  That's all I was trying to say.  I too am not suggesting for him to buy a lens that costs +2K.  I'm just objectively comparing the lenses since I've done it myself and chose the zoom, because of what I already said, AF and flexibility, not to mention IQ and IS.  Expensive, yes.  Maybe the 200 prime is the best for him, who knows.

Good idea to rent each.

Going to try to keep this post nice. After all it's a holiday. ;D
I'm not sure I understand your post regarding a dark gym. Both lenses wide open are f2.8? Not to worry, this will be my last post to this discussion. Please don't hear me wrong the 70-200 is a GREAT lens. Zoom lenses can be a wonderful solution. I think sometimes it is taken too far regarding it being "the only real solution". You don't have to take anyones word for as they are sharper prime lenses than the 70-200, even Canon's own mtf charts will tell you that, but the real test is when you have the lens in your own hands and compare the result(s) for yourself. Depending on the indoor sport you maybe able to get the shots you need with 85mm f1.8, 135mmL f2.0 or even one I don't think I've seen posted yet: 200mmL f2.0 or just take the f2.8 telephoto zoom and crank up the ISO and fix in post no big deal. I've taken a portrait on a crop body using the 300mmL f2.8 (+ extension tub to reduce MFD) lens and guess what, they are pretty good. Now is that "traditional" no, but who cares? If it fits your style and purpose then no harm right? The point is that no one lens has to be everything to everybody. From the almost rude nature of a few of the post on this thread appears that this logic maybe lost on those few. Maybe sometimes the best lens is the one you already have on your camera? Maybe its not just your gear that makes a good or even a great image...

Well, I understand the OP does not wish to rent, they are also good retailers that will let you return a lens within 30 days of purchase. So perhaps try a few of them and return the ones that don't make the cut?

jdramirez: I hope the lens you do select in the end works well for you.  To be honest it sounds like if you do choose from the lenses already posted that you really can't go wrong  ;D

Good Luck and Happy Shooting!

I think what I was hoping for was that someone would tell me that there is no real world difference between the sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM OS FLD Large Aperture and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mkii... Sure the canon wins at 100% and with pixel peeping, but other than that... no difference.  Buy it for a grand, and then have a grand left over to buy a 135mm or whatever.  But I think that is indeed wishful thinking. 
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 08:09:29 PM
I think what I was hoping for was that someone would tell me that there is no real world difference between the sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM OS FLD Large Aperture and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mkii... Sure the canon wins at 100% and with pixel peeping, but other than that... no difference.  Buy it for a grand, and then have a grand left over to buy a 135mm or whatever.  But I think that is indeed wishful thinking.

I went to dpreview... did a side by side comparison of both 70-200's... and without question the Canon is the winner.  So... yeah... no thank you Sigma.  :( 

Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: chauncey on March 31, 2013, 09:20:48 PM
Geez, does no one here rely as heavily on Canon's own MTF characteristics as I do?
Just look at the charts to find those lenses with nice horizontal squiggly lines, not the ones that slope down, the straight ones.

It's not rocket science here...set your budget/requirements/wants, order it/chect it out/keep it or send it back, and repeat process.
As someone else mentioned, don't try to get off going cheap...that doesn't work for ____!
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on March 31, 2013, 09:39:23 PM
Geez, does no one here rely as heavily on Canon's own MTF characteristics as I do?
Just look at the charts to find those lenses with nice horizontal squiggly lines, not the ones that slope down, the straight ones.

It's not rocket science here...set your budget/requirements/wants, order it/chect it out/keep it or send it back, and repeat process.
As someone else mentioned, don't try to get off going cheap...that doesn't work for ____!

mtf  charts annoy me.  I did like the mtf charts from dpreview...  but they didn't have mtfs for all of the lenses I'm interested in.   I'm mulling over selling my macro and getting the 135  and the zoom.   it seems like a better use of resources than having all three.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: Hobby Shooter on March 31, 2013, 11:57:52 PM
I know you're looking for a zoom, but to be honest aside from the mythical 200-400/1.4x a decent zoom telephoto for Canon does not exist.  I have owned almost every choice at one time or another.

Sigma 80-400/OS - extremely slow AF, unacceptable image quality
Canon 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III - better, but still slow, AF.  borderline acceptable image quality
Canon 100-400 - similar AF to the 70-200 + 2x. marginally better image quality.

The best two choices, and I own both of them, are the 300/4 and 400/5.6.  For most occasions I prefer the 400/5.6 because it has better image quality at 400mm and has the fastest AF of the choices.  I mainly use the 300/4 for occasions when I can easily get close to wildlife (zoo) or for small wildlife that I need to get close to for a decent shot (dragonflies, lizards).

I hear such amazing things about the 70-200 f2.8l is mkii, I find it hard to believe it is as wonderful as its reputation.  I do see the photos online and I wonder if that is the lens,  the body,  or the photographer who make it great.   I've never heard the 100-400 referred to as better than the 70-200...  so that detracts from  the credibility of your opinion.
I don't understand where he gets that from regarding the 70-200, I have had mine only three months now but I am overwhelmed of the performance. Everything is good with it, IS, controls, zoom speed, IQ, colours, sharpness etc. Only negative is that it's white so it's hard to blend in. Get it, you will never regret it. It will be the benchmark lens for you.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: J.R. on April 01, 2013, 02:49:28 AM
if the 70-200 f/2.8 II doesn't cut it for you, I doubt anything else will.

Anyhow, compromising is a lose-lose situation because getting the Siggy will have you yearning for more. It's better to buy 70-200 II rather than buying something halfway only to upgrade later on which will eventually cost you substantially higher than getting the 70-200 II outright.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: sandymandy on April 01, 2013, 05:43:01 AM
Zooms just dont deliver the same IQ at all focal ranges they offer. Its the culprit of zooms. Theyre ALWAYS a compromise between affordability and IQ. If that doesnt cut it for you then better get primes.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: AlanF on April 01, 2013, 06:19:12 AM
Zooms just dont deliver the same IQ at all focal ranges they offer. Its the culprit of zooms. Theyre ALWAYS a compromise between affordability and IQ. If that doesnt cut it for you then better get primes.

Usually, but not always true: here is a comparison of the amazing 70-200mm f/4 IS showing it holds its own against the best Canon primes, and it isn't that expensive.

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/999/cat/11 (http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/999/cat/11)

And, the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II is at least as good as the f/4.
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: J.R. on April 01, 2013, 06:41:41 AM
Zooms just dont deliver the same IQ at all focal ranges they offer. Its the culprit of zooms. Theyre ALWAYS a compromise between affordability and IQ. If that doesnt cut it for you then better get primes.

Usually, but not always true: here is a comparison of the amazing 70-200mm f/4 IS showing it holds its own against the best Canon primes, and it isn't that expensive.

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/999/cat/11 (http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/999/cat/11)

And, the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II is at least as good as the f/4.

The 70-200 f/2.8 IS II is supposedly even sharper than the 200mm f/2.8 prime. You may go here and check it out -

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-200mm-f-2.8-L-II-USM-Lens-Review.aspx (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-200mm-f-2.8-L-II-USM-Lens-Review.aspx)
Title: Re: I'm looking for a telephoto zoom, but I've been underwhelmed before.
Post by: jdramirez on April 21, 2013, 11:18:45 PM
To sum up... I actually bought a used 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mkii today for $1700.  Per the person, it has been sparingly used during that year and it was collecting dust... which I totally can understand because I have all but abandoned using my 50mm f/1.4 over the past year and change. 

Two quick things... I know how to read the manufacture date for a lens so I will be able to tell if it was made in 2010 v. 2012, but is there anything else I should check for to see how much it was used?  I'm inclinded to say scratches wear spots, etc... but I don't think that is going to be an issue. 

I really did want to get a 5d mkiii next... but this was just too good of a deal to pass up.  Now I'm about 4 to 500 short of being able to afford the mkiii... but I can make that up before Christmas pretty easily.